Crypto Updates: Department to Bring Cryptocurrency under GST

The government is trying to bring cryptocurrencies under Goods and Services Tax (GST) to tax the total value of transactions. The bitcoin exchanges have to charge 18% GST for crypto services provided to the users.

The department considers cryptos are similar to lottery, betting, casinos, horse racing, and gambling that are subject to a 28% GST on the total value. Also, in the case of gold, the buyer shall pay GST of 3% on the total value.

The sources said that the department needs clarity on the classification of cryptocurrencies to decide on the GST rate and the value under GST. Also, the classification removes the doubt on whether cryptocurrency can be called an actionable claim.

The sources also said that If GST is to be paid on the total value of cryptocurrency transactions, the GST rate might range between 0.1% to 1%.

The cryptocurrency classification must assess whether it qualifies to be an actionable claim. There is no clear definition of cryptocurrency in the GST law and no law governing such Virtual Digital Currencies (VDA). 

The government has announced in the Union Budget 2022-23 that the transfer of any virtual/cryptocurrency asset is taxed at 30%. There will be no deductions except acquisition costs, and transaction losses will not be allowed to be carried forward.

Also, the government emphasised under Budget 2022 that crypto investors can not be able to set off losses in one crypto asset against loss in another crypto asset. Furthermore, the mining costs for crypto will not be deductible as a cost of acquisition. However, few tax experts feel that the set-off of loss on crypto can be allowed.

In addition, the government proposed a 1% TDS on the transfer of VDAs. The Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary clarified in the Lok Sabha that according to the proposed section 115BBH, the loss from the transfer of a VDA would not be allowed to be set off against income earned on the transfer of another VDA.

Overall, the crypto stakeholders got clarity on income tax aspects, and they are now awaiting clarity on GST aspects. They expect the government to develop detailed guidelines covering all the scenarios.

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